|Time||6:30 pm - 7:30 pm|
Sakya Buddhist Centre, 121 Sommerville Rd, Bristol, BS6 5BX, United Kingdom
Today is one of the four great days of the Buddhist year, Chokhor Duchen.
We will be celebrating this auspicious day with The Praise of the Twelve Deeds of Sakyamuni Buddha and the Sixteen Sthaviras Puja. [The reading transmission is required to participate in the puja – this was given most recently by Lama Jampa in London in October 2019].
The Buddha Day of Chokhor Duchen commemorates and celebrates the day the Buddha first taught the holy Dharma. This took place at the deer park in Saranath, near the ancient city of Varanasi, 49 days after the Buddha’s demonstration of complete enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya in Magadha.
When asked by the tree spirit in Bodh Gaya why the Buddha was choosing the deer park at Saranath to turn the wheel of Dharma for the first time (there being no nice trees there under which to repose), the Buddha replied that countless previous Buddhas had already turned the wheel of Dharma there, making it an important and holy place, and one therefore appropriate for a Buddha to reveal the holy Dharma to benefit those beings with wavering minds.
The Buddha ‘turned the wheel of Dharma’ in the form of explaining the Four Noble Truths, to the five ascetics who had been his companions during the Buddha”s six-year period of demonstrating extreme asceticism. Even the deer in the park were able to receive teachings from the Buddha at the same time.
On Chokor Duchen, as on all four of the great days of the Buddhist year, prayers and offerings are made to the Buddha himself, accompanied by the 16 Great Arhats. This practice is particularly efficacious not only for the continuing spread of the Holy Dharma throughout the world, but also for the life of the precious teachers remaining stable.